I joined members of the Women's England Hockey as they launched their official wellness partnership with Vitality UK. I got the opportunity to practice some push drills on the Olympic pitch and then afterwards got to chat to Laura Unsworth, Giselle Ansley and Sarah Haycroft.
Not everyone is good at sport, not everyone wants to be good at sport, but there's something about playing a team game that you just can't re-create on your own. One question I get asked a lot is:
How do you find the motivation? How can you be bothered? Don't you get tired getting up so early? ... and various derivatives of the same.
A lot of people say they don't have time to exercise and it can be a difficult barrier for some. When I met Jessica Ennis-Hill in April I asked her how she made it out of bed in a morning day after day. (Read more about that here). Jess told me she always thought about the competition and they would be training and getting the advantage. When I met Laura Ulsworth, GB Hockey Olympian, I asked her the same thing:
There are definitely days when I don't feel like going. But I think about the other girls and I know they'll get me through the session. That's one of the great things about team sport, you know that as soon as you arrive at training the other girls will be there to lift you.
As well as playing for the England team Laura, Giselle and Sarah also play for their local teams. I asked them what it was like starting out with a new team for the first time:
It's funny because although we were about to play for England it was still just hockey and that bit is the same. It is daunting starting with any new team but what you'll find with team sports, especially hockey, is that everyone is really similar. You might meet someone in the very first session and do push drills with them and they're now going to be your bridesmaid next year (true story!)
And how do you cope with the pressure? Did you know that we were all watching at home on the edge of our sofas whilst they pushed back the News?!
I knew they'd do it. I had absolute faith in them. I was stood there at the centre line and I just knew they'd do it, Giselle explained.
It was weird because we didn't know anything about it at the time. We made a team decision not to go on any social media and we just got in our own sort of bubble. On the day I couldn't even here the crowds at all really. I just did what I do every day, what I've practiced hundreds of times. I was just doing my job, Laura.
(Laura is so modest!)
Do you find there is a lot of pressure on you, as women, do you feel that there is a pressure for you to look good?
[They all looked at each other and laughed.] No, not at all. We are all conscious that at times the games are televised and so we are by a lot of people but really it doesn't come into it. Anyone who is worried about getting sweaty in sport shouldn't worry at all, it really doesn't come into it and we are all in the same boat.